How to Transform Mundane into Magical

Make waterfalls milky, velvety smooth with any Compact Digital Camera

Make waterfalls milky, velvety smooth with any Compact Digital Camera

With a simple Compact Digital Camera, lacklustre scenery can easily be transformed into something magical. Guinevere Sofer reveals the secret

Whether it’s the majestic Niagara Falls or the humble Tegenungan waterfalls in Bali, waterfalls are enchanting and irresistible to tourists.

Be sure to bring the right camera along to capture the waterfall’s wonder and beauty.

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Want Awesome Photos? Avoid Phone Cams

Those who choose to use their smartphone to capture scenery will be very disappointed with the results. Typically, waterfalls
are nestled in forests and heavily-shaded.

The lack of adequate lighting often causes the camera to capture the scenery poorly.

The result: Phone cam photos in low-light situations are typically grainy and blurry images. Who wants to come back with dark or blurry photos of waterfalls?

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A normal shutter speed makes for a dull photo of running water

A normal shutter speed makes for a dull photo of running water

For Convenience & Quality: Bring a Compact Digital Camera

Compact Digital Cameras are just as “pocketable” as smartphones these days, and the quality they produce is certainly worth the effort.

Here are the reasons why. Compact Digital Cameras have options to control shutter speed, to capture low-light scenery better, and to keep the picture steady with better image stabilisation.

Make Waterfalls Milky, Velvety Smooth

The key to creating stunning, magical images of waterfalls or babbling brooks is long exposure. During a long exposure, rapidly-flowing water begins to look smooth and velvety in the photo [see main photo].

To make this magic happen, all you need to do is: 1. Set the camera to shutter speed priority or the “Tv” setting [see sidebar]; 2. Set the shutter speed to anywhere from 1 sec to 15 sec, and use the self-timer to take the photo.

For these types of long exposures, you will need to use a small tripod to hold your camera steady. A practical hand-sized tripod is perfect for putting it by the banks or perched on a boulder.

The magic of long exposure is obvious in this wonderful photo

The magic of long exposure is obvious in this wonderful photo

What is Shutter Speed & “TV”?

I will use an analogy to explain shutter speed. Suppose you’re in a room with all the curtains drawn, a house plant will not get any exposure to sunlight at all. However, if the curtain opens for one hour and closes again, the plant receives a timed duration of light for an hour.

It’s the same within a camera. There is a curtain or, in the case of cameras, a shutter, which opens and closes based on a desired duration of time. You can choose to set the shutter speed as priority by setting the camera onto “Tv Mode” or “Time Value Mode”.

This allows you to choose the duration that the ‘curtains’ open and close, for different effects. In the case of long exposure, the shutter speed is set to seconds to capture the magical waterfall effects.

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